365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


The Accountant (2016)

Gavin O'Connor's (Pride and Glory, Miracle) The Accountant is a movie that resonated with audiences ($86 million at the box office, 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes) but nearly as much with critics (a score of just 51% on Rotten Tomatoes). I saw the movie on its opening weekend because I thought the trailer looked fantastic and I've been a big fan of just about everything Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl) touches, both in front of behind the camera since 2007's Gone Baby Gone, a film that the led to his reemergence as a Hollywood A-lister. The Accountant looked like it would be the type of movie I love, a gritty drama/thriller that is dark, mysterious, and violent. The Accountant is just that, with its lead character is some masterful number cruncher by day and assassin by night. I was disappointed that I did not enjoy as much as I had hoped. More perturbing was that so many of my friends would ask me if I liked the movie and when I would have to tell them that I didn't, they would be surprised and said that they liked it. I chalked it up to me not having a good day at the theater. Perhaps I was tired, didn't feel like being at the movies that day (unlikely), or caught up in texting someone in an empty theater (more likely). I decided I would give the movie another chance when it came to Netflix and, this time, really pay attention. Since so many people saw this movie or are wanting to see it, I was determined to give it as solid of a review as I could. While I did like my second viewing more, I still didn't love it. And I think a lot of it had to do with me wanting to know everything that was happening and wanting to make sense of it. I was struggling to do this. I had to look at some spoiler sites and read some reviews of others to really appreciate this movie for what it's worth. There is an audience for it. If you like the Jason Bourne movies, you'll likely like this. Likewise, if you like movies that have its lead characters dealing with a group of complex disorders of brain development, which is one definition of Autism, you'll like this movie. The Accountant is a movie that I recommend with the preface that you really need to pay attention to this film at all times as there is a lot happening at once. And, also, you need to suspend your beliefs to really enjoy the film. The Accountant (Affleck's character) is a man who can do it all. But then again, so is Jason Bourne and most people (including me) love those movies, especially the first three.


Hell or High Water (2016)

David Mackenzie's (Spread, Asylum) 2016 surprise is a movie that you'll like if you go in with very minimal expectations. If you think it's going to be your typical bank robbery thriller, you might be disappointed. If you think it's going to be filled with drama and suspense, you might likewise be disappointed. If you are interested in a simple character driven story with a little more than meets the initial eye, you might enjoy Hell or High Water. It's definitely a bit more quirky than you might think. If you are expecting a heavy bank caper drama, this isn't it. Mackenzie tries to take a different angle with this movie, adding some humor, recklessness, and interesting side characters to a story that is, primarily, still a bank heist film first. And while this movie has a 98% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, this doesn't mean that most reviewers are scoring it a 9.8/10. Rather it means that 49 out of 50 give this movie a positive review. While it is an interesting film (and the first one of 2016 that I have watched twice), it is by no means a Best Picture candidate. I know there was talk that it might sneak into the race. I have no idea how it got a nomination for Best Picture whereas a movie like Sully did not. While Hell or Hgh Water is a decent movie, I think a lot of people (including myself) expected it to be something far greater than it actually was.


Live by Night (2016)

I've said for the last three or four years that I think and hope that Ben Affleck can be our generation's Clint Eastwood. Affleck has completely transformed himself as a Hollywood A-lister. With a career that really began with Kevin Smith movies like Mallrats and Chasing Amy, Affleck became a household name when he won an Academy Award (best original screenplay) for Good Will Hunting, a film in which he co-starred with Matt Damon. Affleck then went on to star in big budget blockbusters such as Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and The Sum of All Fears. But after he started dating Jennifer Lopez and co-starred with her in both the forgettable Jersey Girl and Gigli, a movie that many people have called one of the worst movies ever made, his perception as an actor began taking a turn for the worse. Forgettable money grabbers like Daredevil, Paycheck, and Surviving Christmas accompanied tabloid fodder and, seemingly, in the blink of an eye Affleck became sort of a joke in the Hollywood circles. Meanwhile, best friend Matt Damon was striking gold with everything he touched. But in 2007, Affleck dabbled with directing for the first time and had one of the best directorial debuts of all-time with the quiet, understated, and much revered Gone Baby Gone. Knowing he needed a break from being in front of the camera, Affleck turned to his brother Casey Affleck as his leading man. Not only did it launch Casey's career, but critics and fans alike wanted to know if Ben was a one hit wonder as a director or if this was a sign of things to come. Fortunately, this was just the start for Affleck who has since directed The Town (my second favorite movie of all-time) and Argo, the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012. Affleck also reemerged as a leading man with performances in The Town, Argo, State of Play, and, the amazing, Gone Girl. In all honesty, Affleck was due for a dud. But, personally, I felt like I owed it to him to see whatever his fourth movie behind the camera would be. I was excited about Live by Night when I first heard about it, but I went in with lower expectations after seeing the critics score of 33% and the audience score of 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. While this easily was his worst movie as a director, it wasn't because it was bad, but rather because his other movies were so good. I didn't love Live by Night, but I by no means disliked it. It was longer than it needed to be and had a couple too many storylines. But Affleck created a well-crafted story with some memorable characters and, honestly, I'll probably watch this movie again when it comes to Netflix so I can better analyze it and catch all of the parts that I might have missed.


Triple 9 (2016)

If you watched season 1 of HBO's True Detective and you were as much of a fan of the six-minute single-shot shootout scene that ended episode four's (titled Who Goes There) as I was, you might just very well like John Hillcoat's (The Road, Lawless) underappreciated Triple 9. If you watch Game of Thrones and found the intense battle between the Jon Snow led wildlings and the white walkers at the end of season five episode eight (titled Hardhome) as the best single scene in the history of the show, you might just very well like the star-studded Triple 9. If I had trusted my instincts and not those of the critics, I would have been able to appreciate this gem of a popcorn flick on the on the big screen. Instead, I let the movie pass through the theaters, knowing I would see it eventually at home, but convincing myself that, despite the awesome previous, I would be disappointed by this movie. Recently, one of my colleagues at work asked why I hadn't told her to see Triple 9, knowing that it was a movie right up my wheelhouse. She was really the first person I actually knew who had seen the movie. So I feel obligated early on this review to try to match this movie with an audience that can best appreciate it. If you like the intensity that comes with a bank robbery movie (my two favorite bank robbery movies are The Town, which is my second favorite movie ever, and the original Point Break), I can't think of a reason that you wouldn't like Triple 9. There are plenty of underlying storylines, but just like those two movies, Triple 9 refuses to take its foot off the accelerator and doesn't confuse its audiences by undervaluing the ferocity of its story by wasting even a single scene that isn't relevant to its story. In 2016, you almost need a caveat when talking about movies. So while Captain America: Civil War is the best movie to be released in the first five months of the year, the best non-superhero movie is Triple 9


The Nice Guys (2016)

"Nice Guys Finish Last". That's a saying we've all heard before. The grunge band Green Day wrote an iconic song about it in the mid-1990's. I'll alter the quote a little in saying that The Nice Guys finishes last. This was not my favorite movie. I knew that I would probably feel this way going into the film, but was willing to sacrifice the two hours because it starred two of my favorite actors in Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, Drive) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind). Despite its 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had no faith in this movie. Its style wasn't my favorite. Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) style for directing this movie was similar to that of Joel and Ethan Coen in that it blended comedy, drama, action, dark comedy, crime (both organized and unorganized) and even small bits of horror to try to come up with a completely unique idea. Was The Nice Guys a completely unique idea? No, not really?